Contingency Fee Lawyer
One of the most common questions that people have when thinking about hiring an attorney is the cost. Many often don’t even try to hire an attorney because they think hiring an attorney is quite expensive and they will not be able to afford one. But there are different types of ways attorneys could get paid. One of the types don’t even require payment up front until the case is won. This article below explains different types of ways attorneys get paid, along with what a contingency fee lawyer does.
Generally, there are about four ways an attorney is paid. These four ways include: flat fee, hourly fee, retainer fee, or a contingency fee. The type of fee arrangement is disclosed to the client when they first sign their agreement paperwork. The American Bar Association requires that the type of fee arrangement be disclosed in writing to a client. A client is advised to never sign an attorney-client relationship contract unless it is disclosed to them in writing how the fee is going to be arranged.
A flat fee is a fixed fee agreement between a client and an attorney. The client pays the attorney a fixed amount that is not subject to an increase or decrease. Usually, flat fee agreements are used for minor projects between an attorney and a client. For example, filing trademark and copyright protections may require the client to pay the attorney the flat fee for getting it done. If the representation requires a large sum of money, the attorney will ask for a flat fee paid on a monthly basis.
Hourly fee arrangements are payment methods in which the client pays the attorney for every hour worked. The attorney, after every hour worked, sends in a timesheet that describes the hours worked and the responsibilities and tasks completed. The client is required to pay based on the hours worked.
A retainer fee describes a lump sum amount paid to the attorney in order to obtain the attorney and “reserve” them for their services. It is essentially considered to be a deposit for being able to obtain the attorney’s services and begin legal representation.
Contingency fee agreements decide that the client must pay the attorney only when a judgment has been won or where a settlement has been reached. Essentially, the client does not have to pay the attorney unless the attorney wins money for their client. This is different from the other fees mentioned above because the contingency fee is determined after litigation. The other types of fees are usually paid before litigation and legal representation has begun. Our personal injury attorneys at Heidari Law work on a contingency fee basis. If we do not win your case or settle money damages in your favor, you will not need to pay us anything. Essentially, we are taking on the risk of litigating your claim.
There are different costs associated with litigating claims in court. Regardless of when the fees are to be paid, these costs still accumulate. These costs are often always overlooked.
- Filing fees: whenever a claim is filed with the court, the party must pay a filing fee to the court in order to be able to litigate it in trial. There’s a filing fee for both a bench trial where judge determines the outcome of the case, or a jury trial where the jury determines the outcome of a case. These filing fees add up, and cost around $500 depending on the jurisdiction in which the court is located in.
- Discovery: after the claim has been filed, both parties then take part in discovery. During discovery, evidence is gathered to support each parties claim or defense. Discovery is a very costly process because each party hires investigators to collect and gather evidence.
- Paperwork: during discovery, there are usually administrative filing fees when obtaining and requesting documents from government agencies. Although it seems minimal at first, some agencies even charge a fee to obtain the document per page.
- Deposition: depositions occur when each party testifies in court prior to trial. Depositions, although limited to a couple hours a day, are very costly. Deposition transcripts must be made for every party’s deposition.
- Witnesses: there are two types of witnesses, lay witnesses and expert witnesses. Expert witnesses testify in trial and give their opinion backed up by reliable methods and sources. Examples of expert witnesses include doctors, engineers, contractors, etc. Expert witnesses are paid by the hour, and cost around a few thousand dollars depending on how long they testify.
Benefits of a Contingency Fee
According to many clients, contingency fee arrangements are the most useful to the client. They have several benefits, such as:
- Usually, many clients are not prepared to pay a lump sum of money before a claim is litigated. Under a contingency fee basis, the client does not have to pay out-of-pocket when they first obtain counsel. Clients are only required to pay until after the trial.
- Contingency fee agreements are negotiable. California requires that contingency fee agreements state in writing that it is subject to negotiations. Therefore, a client is more likely to negotiate a lower contingency fee price.
- The attorney bears the risk of litigation. If trial commences and the party does not win, then the attorney will lose out on hours put into research and trial preparation for their client.
- Since the attorneys bear the risk, attorneys only take on claims that have probable cause. Therefore, this prevents any frivolous lawsuits from coming into court and the attorney believes in the success of their client’s case.
- Contingency fee agreements allow anyone to obtain counsel without having to pay large amounts of money prior to trial. This allows legal access to low-income clients.
How Contingency Fees Are Determined
The American Bar Association model rules of conduct require that contingency fee agreements in writing include:
- The client’s signature
- Large readable text
- How the contingency fees are calculated
- When the contingency fee would be paid
- Whether the client will have to pay the other parties attorney’s fees if they don’t win the case
Our contingency fee litigation attorneys are experienced in several different types of cases. We work to make sure that our clients’ needs are met, and to make sure our client gets maximum compensation for their personal injuries. Whether you are located in California or Nevada, we have offices located in major cities to better assist you. Call us for a free consultation today. At your consultation, we can determine your best legal claim, and best legal strategy for you. We work alongside our clients to make sure that no fee is paid until we win their lawsuit or settle monetary amount in their favor.
***Disclaimer: This page is created by Heidari Law Group for educational purposes. This article provides a general understanding of the law. It does not provide specific advice. By using this site and reading through this page, there is no attorney-client relationship created between you and any member of Heidari Law. Further, due to the constant change of the law, some parts of the information above may no longer be good law.